Shana Speaks Wine

Wine Journalist, Copywriter, and Marketing Consultant

Drinking out loud. 

Filtering by Tag: California

Rose's Last Call

Not to be a downer, but.... I'm going to be anyway. Summer is coming to a close.  You need to get your rose on.  Now.  Here are a few new ones I discovered at a recent tasting.  

Tissot, Cremant du Jura, France, NV. Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine

Tissot, Cremant du Jura, France, NV. Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine

Bubbles! This Tissot, Cremant du Jura, France, NV, had a lot of fresh strawberry on the nose but was beautifully balanced with a brioche toastiness on the palate.  

 

Charles Fournier, Gold Seal Vineyards, Rose, Finger Lakes, 2013. Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine

Charles Fournier, Gold Seal Vineyards, Rose, Finger Lakes, 2013. Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine

A bit of Finger Lakes history for you.  Charles Fournier was one of the pioneering winemakers in this northern New York region and is credited with moving the industry forward.  In the 1950s he brought Dr. Konstantin Frank over and together they revolutionized FInger Lakes wines.  The Dr. Konstantin Frank label is fairly well known but there hasn't been a Fournier Private label for a while.  The Charles Fournier, Gold Seal Vineyards, Rose, Finger Lakes, 2013, was somewhat Provencal in style with the lighter body but it showcased more New World style fruitiness. 

 

Blackbird Vineyards, Arriviste Rose, CA, 2013.  Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine

Blackbird Vineyards, Arriviste Rose, CA, 2013.  Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine

And then, there was this awesomeness. Blackbird Vineyards, Arriviste Rose, CA, 2013, was a Bordeaux blend rose.  Fuller in body, it was rich in fruit but what was most interesting was a bit of creaminess and a slight dairy tang.  Yep, this rose was treated with a bit of malo.  

Finally, with the cooler weather coming, I recommend these two Rosato-style roses. Heftier in body and juicy beyond all belief, they are the sweatercoats of Rose: Enanzo, Rosado, Garnacha, Spain, 2013  and Akakies, Kir-Yianni, Greece, 2013. 

 

Enanzo, Rosado, Garnacha, Spain, 2013.  Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine

Enanzo, Rosado, Garnacha, Spain, 2013.  Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine

Akakies, Kir-Yianni, Greece, 2013. Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine.

Akakies, Kir-Yianni, Greece, 2013. Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine.

I'm gunning for Endless Summer....

Women and Wine - Corkbuzz Wine Studio

 

There's a strange irony in the wine world: as much as women drink wine (visit any wine bar and the numerous tables and stools occupied for a girls' night out will confirm this), much of the wine industry is still seen as a boys' club. However, there are a few female pioneers that are out to change this, not to mention revolutionize the whole wine bar experience itself.

One of the most noteworthy places to drink wine in the city is at Corkbuzz Wine Studio, the creation of Laura Maniec. Until 2011, Maniec was the youngest person to hold the title of Master Sommelier and only one of 18 women with this prestigious title. Although she had extensive experience as the Wine and Spirits Director for various restaurants across the country,  she notes on the Corkbuzz website that she " 'retired' so I could create and run my own own wine studio." What's a wine studio?  It's hybrid wine bar/restaurant/classroom/event space that's holistically awesome.  With classes such as "A Tour of Italy," "Blind Tasting 201" and "Sparkling Wine Around the World" there's a diverse range of topics for novices and aficionados alike to dive into.

One of Laura's passions is Champagne and she strives to bring this sparkler out to the public in a fun and accessible way.  Every night after 10pm, a bell is rung and Champagne Campaign begins, where every bottle of the bubbly stuff is 1/2 price.  Late night not your thing?  Then head over for brunch, where Champagne Campaign will assuredly make running errands later in the day much more fun. On tops of all this, there are clambakes in the summer, blind tasting happy hours and a roster of other unique experiences. 

I've been to Corkbuzz quite a few times ever since it opened in 2011 but have been delinquent in making a return visit in recent months.  With the opening of the new location in Chelsea Market, it was about time to see how the original has evolved. Having made a reservation on OpenTable,  I headed down to reacquaint myself with this unique venue.

The staff is more than well-equipped to guide guests through the constantly rotating 30+ wines BTG (By The Glass, for those looking to get down with the lingo).  Educate, not intimidate, is the goal here.

First up was the Palmina, Arneis, Santa Ynez, CA, 2011.  Arneis is a white grape indigenous to the Piedmont region in Italy but is now being grown domestically in Santa Barbara.  There was a good amount of acid along with some honeysuckle, basil and a savory spiciness. 

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The sign of a great wine bar is a sommelier who knows his or her stuff and loves to bring out something unique to guests. Lusenti, Bianca Regina, Malvasia, Colli, IT, 2008, was a ripe, aromatic Italian white from the Colli region. There was a slight note of wet wool on the nose along with hazelnut.  Again, there was a good amount of acidity and body on this fun n' funky wine.

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These bad boys needed some food, so my friend and I started with the brussel sprouts, which were roasted to al dente and topped with a flurry of pecorino cheese, and followed with the fideos tossed with squid, tomato, pepper and topped with a large prawn. Savory and satisfying, the food made fast friends with our wine.

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Clang! Clang! Everybody stopped and looked around at as the bell reverberated throughout the bar: Champagne Campaign!  Having made friends with two people next to us, we decided to combine forces and partake in a bottle. Chartogne-Taillet, Rose, Champagne, FR, NV.  Yeasty with a bit of a brioche tone, strawberry tones and mousse-y bubbles, this was the perfect wine to end our Corkbuzz experience with. 

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After three years, Corkbuzz continues to impress with its unique concept, oenophile staff, and exciting wine and food; Maniec's vision is definitely redefining the way people learn, consume and understand wine. 

(And P.S., in addition to the newly opened Chelsea Market location, a Corkbuzz in Charlotte, N.C., is due to open very soon).

 Reservations can be made on OpenTable 

http://www.opentable.com/new-york-city-restaurants

Drinking the USA

It was the 4th of July and it felt a bit unpatriotic to drink anything besides domestic wine.  In the spirit of the holiday, I opened myself up to revisiting some Napa Valley wines, which is one region I don't traditionally drink.

Oh man, I am so happy I gave myself over to the West Coast. At dinner Friday night, we went with a bottle of Jordan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, CA, 2010 and Saturday we gave the 2009 a test run. 

The favored Jordan vintage.  Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine.

The favored Jordan vintage.  Photo by Shana Sokol, Shana Speaks Wine.

By law in the US, these wines need to be composed of 75% of the primary grape in order to be named single varietal.  What this means is that although they are dominantly Cab Sauv, technically they are a blend (I dare you to try pulling this stunt with a Brunello)  The 2010 was 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec. The 2009 varied slightly, with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec. How did the compare?  The 2010 showcased riper, richer berries and the tannins were softer and better integrated.  Hints of mocha and chocolate also came through as the wine opened up.  The 2009, on the other hand, felt a bit leaner and more angular and there was a more dominant presence of oak tannins on the tongue.  This vintage could probably use a bit more aging and the bottle itself could have benefited from some decanting.

The shining diamond in all this was the other bottle of wine on Saturday: the Opus One, Napa Valley, CA, 2006. Opus One makes a Bordeaux-style blend: 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% 
Merlot 5% 
Cabernet Franc, 3% 
Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec. Interestingly enough, although the wine contains the required 75%+ Cab Sauv, it chooses not to identify as a single varietal.  

Truthfully, I've always been put off by Opus One.  When I visited the winery a few years ago, I wasn't overwhelmed by what I tasted and I couldn't get over the audacity of charging me $35 for a 1/4 of a glass "taste."  That's some shit right there.

However, this wine was stellar. Deep raspberry and blueberries were immediately apparent and met by tobacco and smoked meat. Chocolate and mocha again made an appearance, rounded out by a full body and silky feeling in the mouth. I wish we had decanted it for a bit before we started drinking because those last few sips were something special.

 

Keep tasting, friends...